Yesterday, a number of high-profile men in the video game industry were accused of sexual assault, including Alec Holowka, a composer and designer behind the indie hit Night in the Woods. Today, Holowka’s development partners announced that they’re cutting ties with him, which will include canceling a current in-development project. Scott Benson, co-creator of the game, describes the cancelled project as “a small thing for our Night in the Woods Kickstarter backers.” The team will also be postponing launch of the physical release of Night in the Woods, though the upcoming iOS port, which is being handled by an outside company, will stay on track.
“We’ve received a lot of emails and messages in the past few days, often very hurt and angry,” Benson wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread. “That’s also how we feel. This has been very, very tough.” In a separate statement, he wrote that “What this means for Night in the Woods going forward is something we will have to work out. These things take time, longer than a couple days at least.” Not long after, Towerfall developer Matt Thorson revealed that he had similarly cut ties with Holowka previously (Holowka was the composer on Towerfall).
This deluge of game developers coming forward started when artist and game designer Nathalie Lawhead wrote a lengthy blog post that accused veteran composer Jeremy Soule, best-known for his work on series like Knights of the Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls, of rape. Soon after, author and developer Zoe Quinn posted a disturbing account of alleged abuse from Holowka. Since then many other developers have taken to Twitter to openly discuss widespread sexual abuse and assault in the industry.
As for Night in the Woods, the future of the game will be handled by Benson and fellow co-creator Bethany Hockenberry. “Thousands of people have connected with Night In The Woods in a very personal way,” Benson wrote. “We can’t tell you how to feel about any of this. Whatever you’re feeling is valid. Your experience with art is yours. What it means to you is yours, regardless of anything else.”
Correction July 28th, 5:45PM: This post originally stated that the developer’s next game was cancelled, when in fact it’s a smaller project for Kickstarter backers of Night in the Woods that has been shelved. The story has been updated to reflect this, and we apologize for the error.